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Home Security

Almost every home in every neighborhood is a target for theft, burglary or home invasion robbery - whether you live in the city or in a rural community. Most families have an abundance of valuables that attract crooks, most of which can turn items such as televisions, stereos, electronic games and computers, into easy cash. A 1996 study by the Justice Department reports that the average family has a one-in-four chance of being the victim of a serious crime each year. Even worse, because burglary is more easily detected because of the increase in residential alarms, offenders are now often choosing to utilize violence during the commission of their offenses. Listed below are some of the best tips found to help you protect your family and home.


Security Systems

A security system can offer 4 levels of deterrence:

  1. Yard Sign – When crooks can see a sign from the street, they often choose another house. Good for you, and for your neighbor, if you participate in the Fernandina Beach Crime Watch program.
  2. Warning Decals - If the burglar misses the sign, they can see the decals in the windows. They know that alarm system wiring is not as obtrusive today as it once was and they prefer not to find out the hard way if the decal is a ploy.
  3. Loud Siren – An audible alarm is most likely to chase a burglar away before he gains entry into your residence or business.
  4. 24 Hour Monitoring – Alarm companies can notify the Police Department to dispatch police officers to your home if an alarm is received by their monitoring station.

Safety Tips
  • If exterior doors are hollow-core, replace them with solid wood, fiberglass or steel.
  • Make sure exterior door hinges are on the inside rather than the outside - where an intruder can remove the pins and pull the door out of the frame
  • If you have double-hung windows, bolt the upper and lower sashes together or insert a metal bar in the track to prevent opening
  • To secure sliding glass doors, add a bolt lock or use a "charley bar" to block the door closed.
  • Use bars to secure basement or garage doors and add bars to basement windows.
  • Most home burglaries occur between 8:00am and 5:00pm, so get in the habit of always locking all doors and windows whenever you go out.
  • Invest in high-quality, name-brand deadbolt locks for all exterior doors.
  • If you have a double-cylinder deadbolt that is operated by a key both inside and out, keep the key near the door so every family member can find it and exit quickly in case of fire.
  • Alarm systems are an effective deterrent. Nine out of ten convicted burglars agree they'd avoid a house protected by an alarm system.
  • Security system decals and signs are also an effective deterrent.
  • According to the FBI, more burglaries occur in July and August than in any other months.
  • Make sure your security system includes a loud inside alarm, detectors at all exterior doors, and motion sensors in the master bedroom and main living areas.
  • Never leave an answering machine message indicating you're not at home. Instead, just say you "can't come to the phone."
  • Use timers to turn lights, televisions and sound systems on and off at different times to give your home a "lived-in look" when you're away.
  • Install motion-detecting outdoor floodlights around your home. Remember to mount them high enough to prevent intruders from disabling them.
  • If there's a Neighborhood Watch Program in your community, join it. If there's not, start one.
  • Report any suspicious persons or vehicles to the Fernandina Beach Police Department.
  • Get to know your neighbors.
  • If you have elderly or incapacitated friends or relatives, check to make sure their security devices are all in good working order.
  • Some burglars scan newspapers for wedding and funeral announcements and special community and holiday events that might take you out of your home, so be especially careful on these occasions.
  • Don't let mail, newspapers or flyers accumulate while you're away, tipping off criminals. Have the post office hold mail, have newspapers suspended, and have a neighbor or friend clear away flyers.
  • To a burglar, an empty trash container may mean you are away. Keep some trash on hand, and consider asking a neighbor to set out trash for pick-up at your house.
  • Don't leave valuables in sight through windows, where they will tempt burglars.
  • Use an etching pen to mark an ID number, like your driver's license number, on valuables.
  • Make an inventory of valuables in your household and store it somewhere other than your home, such as in a safe deposit box.
  • Leave curtains slightly parted so your house doesn't have an empty look.
  • Never open the door to a stranger. Install peepholes in all exterior doors so you can identify whoever is outside. Do not rely on a door safety chain, because these can be broken easily.
  • Ask for I.D. from service representatives who come to your home, and if they don't have it, check with their company to verify identity before letting them in.
  • If you're planning to go away, be careful whom you tell. Ask the Police Department to perform routine “vacation checks.”
  • When vacationing, leave a car in your driveway or arrange for a neighbor to keep a car there and move it around from time to time.
  • Have someone mow your lawn, or rake leaves while you are away.
  • Many garage door openers respond to common codes, so follow the manufacturer's instructions to program yours with a unique code no burglar's opener will match.
  • Keep your garage door locked at all times, preferably with a deadbolt lock.
  • Thieves always look in mailboxes, under doormats and above doorways for keys. Don't make it easy for them to get into your home.
  • Don't put your name or address on your key ring, because it might lead a thief right to your door with key in hand.
  • When having a car parked or serviced, leave only the car keys.
  • If there's any chance a previous resident may still have keys to your house, re-key the locks.
  • Prune overgrown trees and shrubs to eliminate hiding places for intruders.